Mogadishu (UM) – On 8th February 2018, the Government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo will celebrate its first anniversary. There are speeches and video presentations planned to mark the day but, in the run up to the actual event itself UM will present a few of the key events that shaped the year.
8th February 2017 saw team Farmaajo spectacularly thrust themselves into power after the Presidents electoral defeat of his main rival and incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Since that day, there have been some successes, many challenges and more still to do in the years to come.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo and his selected Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire’s first task was to appoint a Cabinet upon which they agreed and which they felt confident could take the agenda of the Government forward. There were a few surprises in this Cabinet but there were also trusted and experienced few whose appointment has contributed to the success of the Government’s policies and programs. The most notable Minister in this regard is the Minister of Finance, Dr. Abdirahman Dualeh Beileh.
UM names Minister Beileh as the Minister of the Year from within the Federal Cabinet for his success in leading the reforms necessary for economic recovery and fiscal discipline at the Ministry of Finance. In under a year, Minister Beileh and his team have succeeded in the IMF Staff Monitored Program (SMP), salaries have been paid for the entire period of the current administration and Sales Tax is now in place and collected under the law. All civil servants are now paid through a bank account and the Army has already begun the process of biometrically registering soldiers for direct payment for the first time. Moreover, Somalia now enjoys excellent relations with all the International Financial Institutions and more donors are in line to offer additional support or extend existing assistance based on the satisfactory performance of the Ministry of Finance under Minister Beileh.
Minister Beileh must be commended for changing the culture of the Ministry of Finance through his personal commitment to transparency and Good Governance. Through his monthly “Meet the Minister” Program Dr. Beileh has become a trusted household name whom the public have come to respect for his management of public finances. In his latest “Meet the Minister” broadcast he promised to make the budget and its midterm review public. This public engagement will only increase transparency and trust in the Ministry and the Government on the part of the people and donors.
Dr. Beileh’s simple focus on his job as Minister of Finance has earned him the respect of the President and Prime Minister as well as the Finance Ministers of the Regional Federal Member States. This coupled with his consistent strong performance as Finance Minister will likely ensure his political success. Minister Beileh’s technocratic approach professionalises financial policymaking and implementation at a crucial time when there needs to be greater revenue raised from domestic sources for development across the whole country.
The challenge for Minister Beileh now is maintaining his impressive track record of success and raising more revenue to pay for the running of the Government and then to invest in basic public services. He must also protect his reforms against spoilers who benefitted from the old murky system and weakened, divided political structures. With his proven determination and commitment to the national interest this will not be an impossible task and it will serve as an example of the possibility of change and progress in Somalia.